Whats Eric Eating
What's Eric Eating Episode 170

Behind the scenes at Houston's most opulent Indian restaurant, plus a Japanese sandwich sensation

Houston's most opulent Indian restaurant, plus Japanese sandwich hype

Musaafer Mithu and Shammi Malik
Mithu and Shammi Malik are this week's guests. Courtesy of Musaafer
Musaafer Divali dishes
A selection of dishes from Musaafer's Divali menu. Photo by Raydon Creative
Musaafer Sheesh Mahal
The Sheesh Mahal is decorated with thousands of hand-cut mirrors.  Photo by Julie Soefer
Musaafer Mithu and Shammi Malik
Musaafer Divali dishes
Musaafer Sheesh Mahal

On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Mithu and Shammi Malik join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Musaafer, the Indian fine dining restaurant they opened in the Galleria. Despite making its debut in the middle of the pandemic, Musaafer has earned raves from diners both for its elaborate design and its elegant, authentic cuisine.

The conversation begins with the couple explaining how they evolved their business from importing Blue Bunny ice cream to Lagos, Nigeria to create the Spice Route Company — a hospitality company with multiple concepts that range from pizza and burgers to fine dining restaurants. Houston's ties to the oil-rich city led them to launch their first American concept in the Bayou City.

Rather than focus on one style of Indian cuisine, Musaafer blends familiar dishes like samosas and lamb chops with a few that are specific to micro-regions of the Indian subcontinent. As Shammi Malik explains, the restaurant has an almost infinite number of potential menu items to showcase. 

Yes, there is a staple menu for most restaurants all over the world. We do have most of them in some form or another. But with the desserts we've done and the way we're changing our menu every season, if you give us this chance to keep on changing, we've got in our bank of recipes a whole year's worth. We won't repeat a dish. The credit doesn't go to us. It goes to our country. It's so vast. We're so excited to showcase it to the world. 

Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Matt Harris discuss the news of the week. Their topics include a discussion of the changes currently underway at the Houston Farmers Market; the closure of Firehouse Saloon, and two of the new cloud kitchens that have opened recently. 

In the restaurant of the week segment, they discuss Sandoitchi, the Dallas-based Japanese sando pop-up that's currently operating in Houston. Does the Instagram sensation live up to the hype?


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